Debian Weekly News - February 27th, 2002

Welcome to this year's ninth issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Our colleagues from Linux Weekly News had nice coverage of the unstable Debian distribution. Additionally, the European Commission wants to know more about Free Software developers. You may want to help with their survey. This week's compulsory discussion on the release process of Debian is here.

Packages Removed From Woody. Anthony Towns informed us about the first set of packages that were removed from Woody. However, this isn't the last word on the matter in a number of ways: there are certainly going to be more removals, but there's also still a chance for some of these packages to get back into Woody if the appropriate bugs are fixed and the package is given enough time to be tested.

Crypto Software in Debian. You may have heard about this subject before, the Debian project plans to include crypto software in their main archive. James Troup and Sam Hartman recently sent a note to all mirror maintainers, to inform them about the current situation and future plans. Sometime after March 8th, crypto software like OpenSSH, SSL support, and many other enhancements will be integrated into the main archive. This is in accordance to legal advice the Debian project received.

OpenOffice Progress. Some people may have missed it already, but Jan-Hendrik Palic is still working on getting OpenOffice compiled and packaged. He recently announced a web page unveiling the current status of his effort. Several problems were already addressed but there's still a lot of work to do until it can be packaged. People who are interested in this matter should subscribe to the debian-openoffice mailing list.

Investigating Debian's Menu System. Bill Allombert tested support for the Debian menu system in all window managers and menu managers in Debian/testing. The results of this survey are sobering. Too many menu managers do not support user defined menu entries out of the box and some window managers even preprocess their config files with m4 which may cause problems.

Debian as Aid Server. Matthew Grant from an organisation that hosts GNU/Linux Projects for Developing Countries reported that they chose Debian to build an Aid Server whose purpose is to enhance communications for aid organisations and NGOs (Non-governmental organizations), specially suited for conditions found in many 3rd world countries.

Upgrading from Potato to Woody. Dale Scheetz completed his second attempt at a smooth upgrade from Potato to Woody. Things went much better this time, but there are still some slight gotchas that will need to be detailed in the upgrade notes. Before actually upgrading, one has to install new versions of apt, dpkg and apt-utils, though.

Debian and the LSB. The Linux Standard Base Specification 1.1.0 (LSB) was released a while back. To make Debian LSB compliant, Chris Lawrence prepared an lsb package that contains a number of compatibility scripts and directories and provides the lsb dependency for LSB-conformant applications. With a few caveats, it implements most of the LSB spec, in conjunction with Joey Hess' new alien 8.00.

Debian Project Leader Elections. After Raphaƫl Hertzog and Bdale Garbee the third candidate, our fearless XFree86 maintainer, Branden Robinson, declared his intent to run for the office of Debian Project Leader. Campaigning begins on February 28th (i.e. tomorrow). After publication of their platforms, there shall be a one week period for each candidate to create a rebuttal, and the rebuttals shall be published on the 7th of March.

Debian and IPv6. Not all networking packages in Debian are ready for IPv6 connections yet. Unfortunately many maintainers, both Debian and upstream, often respond to patches like: "I don't have IPv6 on my system, therefore can't validate whether or not your patch destabilizes my stable code, so I won't accept it." This degenerates it into another chicken and egg situation. A Debian repository for IPv6 enabled packages that aren't part of Debian yet, would be appreciated. Setting up IPv6 over an IPv4 tunnel is quite easy, says Marco d'Itri. Here's another document that describes how to make an application not care about IPv4 or IPv6 in socket connections.

MySQL Documentation is Free or Not? Recent versions of MySQL documentation state clearly that they are not released using the GNU General Public License (GPL). The reason is that MySQL AB likes to be the only one who may sell printed versions for MySQL. However, they would like to release the documentation under the GNU Free Documentation License (FDL). This license and the original idea would clash, though.

Public Relations for Debian. Karl Hegbloom pointed out that the Debian Project lacks a good PR department that submits PR and tech articles to news services. News papers and services need press releases submitted to them for reprint and redistribution. Debian isn't included in many of them, however, some read our press releases as well and comment on them. Additionally, a properly maintained press kit is missing that could be used at exhibitions.

New Incoming System Changes. Adam McKenna noticed that the new incoming system behaves different than the old one and is already installed on both non-US and ftp-master. Uploaded packages are immediately "accepted", and the bugs are closed right away. However, it still takes up to one day until the package appears in the archive and can be installed by our users. This was implemented to reduce the load on the Bug Tracking System (BTS), however a saner approach seems to be tagging these bug reports "fixed" and close them after the package has been installed.

New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the Debian archive recently.

Security Updates. You know the drill, please make sure that you update your systems if you have any of these packages installed.

Orphaned Packages. 19 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 111 orphaned packages. Many thanks to the previous maintainer who contributed to the Free Software community. Please see the WNPP pages for the full list, and please add a note to the bug report and retitle it to ITA: if you plan to take over a package.

Got News? Please inform us about everything that's going on in the Debian community. We are always looking for any interesting stories to add, especially new items by volunteer writers. We're looking forward to receiving your mail at

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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Yooseong Yang and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.